Monday, May 25, 2015

Recipe: Coffee and Pilpelchuma Pot Roast

I love food. My relationship with food has been a bit of a roller coaster, but that's where I am at now, loving food.  I have always loved to cook and not-so-secretly wished I would have gone to culinary school instead of regular college.  Despite my love of food and cooking, I spent several years relying on meals I could make in a microwave simply because I hated to cook a big meal only for myself. I started to cook more once my son was eating solid foods, but more for him than for myself. Since moving in with my partner I've been fortunate to add 3 more hungry mouths to feed to my family.  Now I am able to cook a big meal and very rarely have anything left over.  I often start with a recipe I find online and twist it to my own interpretation or just wing it entirely, but I very rarely write down what I have done so that I am able to recreate it.  As soon as I decided to make this roast I knew it would be the perfect first recipe to call my own and publish here (Hello bucket list item being checked off!).  The roast will fall apart at the end of cooking, so it should not take much slicing, if any to portion out.  We were able to just scoop out what we wanted with slotted spoon and did not need a knife at all.  The spice rub uses coffee and a Pipelchuma spice blend as the primary flavors.  It has a great balance of savory and spice with a hint of sweetness to it.  I wish I had thought ahead to take more photos, but I do have a few.

Here is the roast with the spice rub getting seared:
Photo by Poison Megz

Here is the seared roast in the slow cooker:
Photo by Poison Megz

Here is how I ate my serving, topped with some of the shallots and garlic from the bottom of the slow cooker.  My serving sort of looks like my home state of Indiana, which amused me greatly:
Photo by Poison Megz

Coffee and Pipelchuma Pot Roast

2 to 3 lb Beef Chuck Roast
3/4 cup beef broth
1 to 2 shallots (depending on your taste)
4 cloves garlic (adjust to your taste)
1 TBSP oil of your choice

Spice rub:
2 TBSP Ground Coffee
1.5 TBSP Pilpelchuma Seasoning Blend*
½ Tsp cinnamon
1.5 Tsp Unsweetened cocoa
1 Tsp salt


1.     Allow roast to come to room temp while you do your prep.

2.    If your coffee is not finely ground, then place the 2 TBSP of ground coffee in to a coffee/spice grinder, food processor, blender, whatever you have and grind it until it is close to a powder.  If the coffee is ground coarsely you can still use it, but crunchy bits of coffee may be off-putting to some people while eating the roast.  Use your best judgment here really.

3.     Mix the ingredients for the spice rub together in a small bowl until well-blended.

4.     Pat your roast to remove excess moisture.

5.     Rub the spice blend on all sides of the roast.  Make sure you really press the rub in to the meat so it sticks. Set aside while you finish prep.

6.     Slice the shallot and set in the bottom of your slow-cooker.

7.     Slice the garlic cloves as thinly as you can.

8.     Heat the 1 TBSP of oil in a skillet over medium heat (I used olive oil, but use whatever you prefer.)

9.      Add the garlic to the oil and sauté until golden brown.

10.   Remove the garlic, but leave the garlic infused oil in the skillet.

11.   Place garlic in the bottom of the slow-cooker with the shallot.

12.  Gently place your roast in to the skillet to sear the spices in. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side.  You want a nice sear, but you do not want to burn the spices.

13.   Place seared roast in to the slow-cooker.

14.   Pour beef broth on top of roast. Cover.

15.   Cook on low for 8 hours.

*The Pilpelchuma spice blend I used came from Trader Joes and is a Libyan Jewish spice blend or hot sauce. It can also be spelled Filfel Chuma and contains Chili, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Cumin, and Caraway*

This is the spice tower from Trader Joe's that contained the Pilpelchuma:
Photo by Poison Megz

Let me know if you try this and what you think!  It disappeared pretty quickly here. If you use a different spice blend in place of the Pilpelchuma let me know how that turns out as well please.

Poison Megz

Thursday, May 21, 2015

April Bucket List: Three Items Checked Off!

April was a busy month for this little bucket list mission.  I was able to check off three things.  Two of them do not have long stories, but the third has a long story, that is a bit of a roller coaster ride.

The first of three things I checked off this month was another debt.  I completely paid off my Target card.  It was the lowest balance I had, but I'm glad to have it paid down completely.

The next thing I was able to check off is one that will hopefully improve my quality of life for an indefinite amount of time.  I decided to join a local gym.  In honor of the 2nd birthday of the owner's my local Fitness 1440 was offering the first month for only $2 with no enrollment fee.  I had $2 and they offer free child care in the mornings and afternoons.  Now I just need little Stormageddon to get over his cough so that I can start going regularly.  I have never been the type to enjoy exercise so it's probably going to be a struggles, and I'm probably not going to want to go, but I feel that I need to.  I am at the heaviest I have ever been and I want to change that.  The membership includes the opportunity for free classes, so maybe that will be the way to make it more fun for me.

As I mentioned in my last post Dark Lord Day was something that was on my mental list but never made it to paper.  Dark Lord Day is the annual release of Dark Lord, a beer by 3 Floyds Brewing Company.  It's a ticketed event, and you battle every other beer fan out there fighting to get tickets online when they are released.  I've tried to get tickets in past years and had no luck.  This year was different, I got my tickets.  I absolutely love a good beer.  I prefer darker beers like stouts and porters, but I also adore sour beers and gose.  Dark Lord is a Russian Imperial Stout.  You can only buy it with an allotment ticket on the day of the event or if you want to pay an inflated price, after from someone selling or trading.

The event got off to a rough start before I even arrived.  My tickets never showed up, which meant I had to go to ticket resolution before getting in.  My friend Joe who was the lucky recipient of my second ticket, had his car breakdown the day before he planned to head out, followed by the tow truck breaking down with his car and the repairs not being done when promised.  After waiting around for them to be done, he decided to leave and drive the 5.5 hours in another car, with no power steering.  And on the way, he ran over a ladder, luckily with no damage to the car.  It was somewhere around 7:30 the Friday night before Dark Lord Day when Joe got to town finally and we were able to settle in to the hotel and figure out a game plan.  We had planned to go out and try some local beer, but instead decided to liquor store hop for beer and have pizza at the hotel with one of my local friends.  It's a great plan low-key before a long day since we planned to line up by about 7 the following morning.  Well, it took us probably a good hour to get out of the first store.  Joe's bank seemed to think that being just over the border of another state meant someone had stolen his card.  Once that got sorted we hit two more stores, found some interesting beers, and headed back to meet my friend at our hotel to watch horror movies and eat some pizza.

Everything was fine until the cheap pizza decided to rebel against my stomach, or the garlic butter.  Whichever it was it ended with me not even being able to hold down water.  We did not line up at 7 am.  We did not even get there before it opened.  No, I was curled up in bed dying and feeling like I probably would not make it to the event at all.  Joe decided he was going to fix me and went off to the store.  He returned with giant cups, ice, Tums, Ibuprofen, Zantac, Gatorade, and Sprite.  It took a couple more hours but eventually I made it through a shower and a full cup of Gatorade without more puking.  We tried to find a cab, but every single company said at least an hour, so eventually we gave up and drove, hoping we would find parking.  And we did!  We parked just before 2 PM and stepped out in to the cold rainy day.

We were soaked before we even got in line, and my shoes were soaked through in the first 5 minutes of the walk, but we made it!  The line moved at a steady pace, and then we immediately got in to the much slower line to buy our allotment of the beer.  I ate pretzels from a stranger after about an hour in to that second line because my stomach suddenly realized how empty it was. So thanks pretzel guy for making it possible for me to survive the line!  When you get through the allotment line you get a scratch off ticket for the chance to buy a barrel aged variant of Dark Lord.  I won! and I picked the De Muerte variant.  It is aged in bourbon barrels with ancho and guajillo peppers.  Spice is right up my alley so it was the natural choice.

After we walked our beer back to the safety of the car we embarked on a mission to find food and sample some beers.  The first thing I ate was a hot dog with something spicy on it--great choice I know.  My second food choice was even better for recovering from food poisoning.  A doner kebab and curry fries!  The Doner Men food truck was on site and I could not pass up the chance to try it. And it was amazing. And totally worth any risk of angering my stomach.

Photo by PoisonMegz

After food we sort of  wandered checking what beers were still on tap where.  We decided to stop by the Dark Matter Coffee tent and then head out.  I snagged a bag of their limited edition Judas Priest coffee and some purple snifters.  I also made out like a bandit with $45 of free chocolate somehow.  So my entire haul for the day is below:

Photo by PoisonMegz

It was a long day with a rough start but it was an absolute blast.  I am so glad I was able to drag my ass out of bed and make it there.  Plans have been made to return next year and be more prepared for all weather possibilities.  I waited a couple weeks before I opened the first Dark lord.  I enjoyed it, though not as much as I was anticipating.  It is very bitter when it first hits the tongue. After it was back down to room temperature I was able to enjoy it more and taste some more complex notes, like coffee and molasses and a hint of sweetness form vanilla.  I drank a little more than half the bottle and am planning to make a BBQ sauce with the rest.  I am going to age two of the bottles and use one of the others to make a hot sauce, since I missed out on buying the hot sauce at the festival.

Photo by PoisonMegz

The De Muerte is going to be opened at the end of June during Days of the Dead Indianapolis so Joe and I can both try it.  Hopefully next year we will be able to get tickets and get a variant again!  Thank you all so much for bearing through this long post!  I am so glad I was able to check 3 things off of my list in April.  Hopefully the summer will allow me many chances to check off even more.

Poison Megz

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Star Giveaway Winner Announced and Bucket List Update

Thank you to everyone that entered my first giveaway for a free star on Your Star Forever!  I would like to congratulate Alyssa D. on her win.  An e-mail has been sent with your code.  Feel free to share the link to your star here if you feel like it!

Items added to bucket list:

Something that should have been on there but was never written down, was attend Dark Lord Day at 3 Floyds Brewing Co.  Also added is to do a tour on a bicycle pub.

Stay tuned for what I checked off in April.  I was able to check three items off! Hint: One is Dark Lord Day.